England vs Bangladesh – Comfortably Done

In most ways, England’s exceedingly comfortable victory over Bangladesh was entirely to be expected, and occurred more or less as it should have, given the difference in playing resources.  But England’s defeat to a Pakistan team who consistently send people to a thesaurus to check for synonyms for “mercurial” lent a slight air of doubt about how well England are equipped to win the competition.   It’s the natural state of being for most England supporters to be pessimistic about their team’s prospects, having been magnificently unsuccessful in ODIs for 40 years, even when they’ve had a good team.  But just as one defeat oughtn’t have led to increased resignation that it would all happen again, nor should this dominant display lead to any greater certainty about their prospects.

England are a very fine team indeed, with a batting line up that has now broken an all time ODI record by passing 300 six matches in a row.  That is a fine level of consistency, and a mark of how far they’ve come in the last few years that the 311 in the South Africa game felt a disappointing total, and the 386 today a return to what might have been expected.  For a team as good as England’s, reaching the semi-final stage ought to be reasonably straightforward, and from that point knock out cricket is an entirely different beast.  That’s not to say that England are definitely going to qualify, for the matches against Australia, West Indies, New Zealand and India are fraught with peril.   But it is to say that a side with aspirations of winning the competition ought to be confident.  There are two ways of looking at it – that all of those games are a danger, certainly, but with six wins likely to be enough, two victories in the bag, and barring major surprises, wins against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to come, England should only need two victories against the heavyweights.

Bangladesh are of course one of the lesser fancied teams in the competition, but they are not the minnows of years past either (though it must be noted those minnows despatched England in both 2011 and 2015), and despite falling a long way short of England’s total today, they still showed they are far from a poor side.  A routine win, certainly, but one made routine because of how good England were.

Jason Roy was the star of England’s innings, his 153 coming off a mere 121 balls, and fairly evenly paced from the start.  Even after such a score, the manner of his dismissal caused a degree of disquiet, which perhaps goes to show little has really changed.  Having hit the first three balls of Mehidi’s over for six, Roy clearly had every intention of aiming for six sixes in the over.  The fourth ball was every bit as much there to hit as the previous three, but he lost his shape and skied it.  It wasn’t an outrageous shot, by any stretch, so it was more a matter of execution than intent, and there is always the danger in basing judgements on outcome.  “Great shot, great shot, great shot, you idiot£ is an invariably unfair way of looking at it.  Still, it can be argued that he was seeking a personal milestone rather than a team one in so doing.  Perhaps that is a fairer point to make, but it does apply to most batsmen much of the time, it is often a matter of degree. The intent though, and the sheer confidence behind it, were welcome.

Bairstow and Root performed their supporting roles well, while Jos Buttler, promoted up the order, was as explosive as ever.  One particular shot, his weight entirely on the back foot, was utterly outrageous – a straight hit out of the ground and into the river Taff.  The joy of watching a special talent in any sport is not so much in seeing exceptional competence, it is in watching someone do something that leaves the observer scratching his or head and wondering how the hell he’s done it.  Such players are rare and precious.

Of more concern was Buttler’s clear discomfort during his innings, and while his practising his wicketkeeping in the interval to see how fit he was to do so was reassuring, it was surely sensible for him to have the second half off and let Bairstow take the gloves.  England are a strong side, and not reliant on one player, but Buttler adds an X Factor that cannot be replaced.  The England medical team will doubtless play down any worries, but as was once said in a different context, there is a massive trust issue there.

After a slight collapse around the 340 mark (it remains ludicrous such numbers are regular landmarks in an England side) the innings was finished off in some style by Liam Plunkett, whose late innings hitting has been a precious resource for England on a fair few occasions.

387 was always likely to be beyond Bangladesh, and so it proved.  Jofra Archer produced a peach to dismiss Soumya Sarkar, the ball flying off the top off of stump and over the boundary without bouncing.  Incidentally, it’s worth noting that those who deride critics of the game being behind a paywall often pipe up that clips on social media are an adequate substitute in the modern world.  The clip of that happening did indeed get lots of attention in a tweet:

Note that the upload of a few seconds of action has now been deleted by the rights holder, an act consistent with the ongoing removal of historical cricket content on Youtube, and the act of commercial entities and a cricket structure that has no idea how to market itself to a wide audience.  Football might do the same thing to some extent, but not to the extent cricket does.

Archer bowled swiftly, with serious threat and with intelligence as well.  Whatever the comment around his qualification for England, he has added a significant new dimension to this side.

Bangladesh didn’t wilt, the increasingly impressive Shakib scoring a fine century, but the ever rising required run rate meant that the outcome of the game was in little doubt.  Woakes was a bit expensive, but Archer and Stokes in particular looked dangerous.  England are back on track, and have nearly a week off before facing a highly dangerous West Indies team.

But so far, overall, not too bad.

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18 thoughts on “England vs Bangladesh – Comfortably Done

  1. dArthez Jun 8, 2019 / 6:09 pm

    A good win.

    Wonder how the group stage would have looked if Pakistan were not blessed with rain yesterday, but England were today. People would have gotten a bit nervous with games against Australia, West Indies and India still ahead of them, and suddenly qualification might have been a bit tricky..

    The format is okay, but teams will end up qualifying or being eliminated on rain in all likelihood. How the weather gods determine cricketing ability is beyond me.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Jun 8, 2019 / 6:14 pm

      As everyone points out, without the weather gods, Pakistan would not have won in 1992. Adds to the legend (I don’t think England would have won any final, to be honest, so not saying it would have been us).

      Like

    • dArthez Jun 8, 2019 / 7:54 pm

      I know of the Pakistanis being extremely lucky to qualify on rain in 1992. They did not enough to actually qualify then, and still ended up winners; they were simply lucky with the weather which is not a cricketing skill.
      The washout might have been a decent result if it had happened against say India (I don’t think they would have been too unhappy with a point then, but to crop a point against Sri Lanka, for the first time ever in World Cup history, will be seen as a lost point.

      For every team that qualifies on rain, there is also a team that misses out on rain – but at least Australia in 1992 had lost all the matches against teams that qualified in the top 4 (South Africa, New Zealand, England and Pakistan). New Zealand only lost two matches in the tournament, both against Pakistan, so they may well feel that they were robbed of a World Cup victory by the rain.

      Maybe I am a bit too obsessed about fairness in the format. But for something that careers are made of, jobs depend on (also in administration), I think that is only fair to do.

      We saw it in the Champions Trophy as well in 2017. Teams being saved by rain, or denied rather straightforward wins due to rain – and we could have ended up with the farcical situations that new gloves are being brought after every ball, just so that the twenty over mark is not breached by the batting side, or the bowling side suddenly have 5 people that need medical attention to ascertain that twenty overs won’t have been played by the time the weather has the final say. That would not be cricket, but gamemanship. But that pays these days. Sadly.

      A I must have posted earlier, I expect England, India, Australia and New Zealand to qualify for the semis. I have not yet seen a reason to change that view, even if we have to wait for another month before the semis are finally announced.

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      • thelegglance Jun 8, 2019 / 7:55 pm

        I have a question for you here: given that reserve days aren’t going to happen, isn’t this format the one that mitigates against bad weather the most?

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      • dArthez Jun 9, 2019 / 9:22 am

        Considering the format?

        We have seen what a few days of rain can lead to in an extremely short format (Champions Trophy 2017; the 2007 format would have been a disaster as well). If a competitive match is a washout (like India – Australia – now watch the game being onesided), then both teams gain a point they could easily have lost due to play. You could still be unlucky that India or Australia (in the example above) miss out on qualification due to having a point too little; but there is a realistic chance that they would not have gained the point if the game was played. Those chances are lower with fixtures like Pakistan – Sri Lanka, or India – Sri Lanka.

        The problem is if you have a tournament with many non-competitive games (basically all games involving South Africa, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, in this edition) unless it is a warm and dry summer, where spin comes to the fore), that will ruin things, as there won’t be many teams that will drop a game against either of those three, unless the weather intervenes. Because not only will teams lose points they would obviously have claimed, it might even negatively impact on their NRR.

        I am not sure if spreading the tournament out over 6 weeks (at least for the group stages) is reducing the chances of rain ruined matches the most, given that the tournament is played in England. I am no meteorologist, but I do wonder if it had not been better to schedule the tourney in July – August, rather than June – July. That of course creates a conflict with the Ashes.

        Such considerations might be irrelevant if it was held in places with long dry summers (Australia, India, UAE).

        Of course I would not advocate for reducing the number of teams playing in the tournament. Rather that they need to increase the number of teams competing. A format like the 2015 World Cup would have been much better though; I mean for any of the teams that have a realistic chance of qualification then, to miss out they need to lose a lot of games against fellow competitors AND be unlucky with the rain. In the current format that is less clearly the case.

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        • thelegglance Jun 9, 2019 / 9:38 am

          August is the 3rd wettest month of the year. June is the driest.

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          • nonoxcol Jun 9, 2019 / 10:50 am

            Also, luck of the draw I know, but 2018 saw one of the warmest and driest June/July periods since 1976. The weather changed on 27 July and August saw more typical British summer weather. (Still quite a lot better than we’ve had so far this June, to be fair!)

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        • Mark Jun 9, 2019 / 12:52 pm

          The positive of this format is that you are guaranteed 9 matches, and not just three, if there was a group system. Sure, you may get unlucky with the rain, but you will get a number of opportunities to win a number of matches.

          The teams are going to take points off everybody else. Pakistan took points of England. WI took points of Pakistan. Everybody has so far taken points off SA. If you are going to get to the last four you are going to have to win probably five or six matches.

          I get your point about the weather, but I don’t think there is a perfect system. You will always get the luck of draw, take the toss for example.If it is cloudy and overcast a team may put the other team into bat, bowl them out, and then bat in bright sunshine four hours later.

          I suspect the last four teams will turn out be (with perhaps say, one exception) the best teams in form in this event.

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  2. LordCanisLupus Jun 8, 2019 / 6:13 pm

    A couple of thoughts on the game.

    I was mad at Jason Roy’s dismissal. Although Chris makes some decent points, and I’m a great defender of the “it’s the way I play” thoughts this team has, this was silly. Jason Roy was well set. A new man had come in not too long before. It was obvious (to me) that if he went for another six, and another, and another, he was going to hole out. I said it to my wife, who wasn’t paying attention of course, and glazes over at cricket. Roy was the best chance of England making 400. He could have made 200+. In the end, no biggie, but still. It wasn’t, in my mind, sensible.

    On the clip. You see now what grinds my gears. Great point, Chris. No-one is making money out of this, no-one is doing anything other than celebrating the game being played. But no, these short-sighted, money-grabbing, short-termist fuckwits have to protect the financial strategic partner over the greatest strategic partners of the lot, the long-suffering cricket fans who couldn’t get in. Nasser Hussain mentioned fans twice today – his taxi driver would have loved to have been there today but the tickets were “too expensive”, whereupon the ICC commentator with him started going down the Nasser is tight routine rather than address the big eared thing with the trunk (not Nasser) in the commentary box. Later they replayed the Stokes catch and Nasser said look at how the fans reacted. “They are the most important people in the game” he said. Maybe he should take that up with his strategic partners at the ECB, who think we’re obsessives. In a totally unrelated fact, France’s women’s football team had double their record audience for the opening game of the football World Cup, and it was covered in the UK on the BBC. I’d wager that game will comfortably top any TV audience in this Cricket World Cup.

    Can I say I noticed the ball going for six off the stump right away?

    Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance Jun 8, 2019 / 7:07 pm

      Views will differ, that’s ok.

      The one thing I will say, and obviously it’s not the same, but only once in my life was I in a position to think six sixes in an over was possible, when I hit the first three in an over for six.

      It was a friendly,it didn’t matter, and so on. But I do know I had nothing in my mind except that there was a shot at glory. Missed the fourth and was bowled. But perhaps that colours my view a bit, and makes me more forgiving.

      Like

    • Mark Jun 8, 2019 / 7:13 pm

      On the ticket front just for interest I looked at a ticket site this morning if there were any tickets available. There were only a few, and the three bands available were……

      £47-70…..£70-136……£136+ A ticket in the platinum section had been sold yesterday apparently for £230. The ground looked pretty full on tv so I guess they can justify these prices, but even so…..

      As to the removal of cricket clips on line you have to weep at the cretinous nature of the people who run this sport. There is no money to be made from showing a few clips on you tube or anywhere else, But to get their big pay day contract the ECB has to surrender to their “stragiec partners.”

      This may be good business, but bloody selfish, and shortsighted in the long run. It makes a mockery of Harrison’s often repeated claim he wants to “grow the game.” Grow the game? By
      inventing a new product because he won’t promote the old product.

      As to Roy, no real big deal today,but if he does that in the semi final or final (if England get that far) I’m not sure people will be quite so sanguine.

      My worry with England is its either feast or famine. They either marmalise sides or in the close games they look suspect.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rohan Jun 8, 2019 / 8:24 pm

    All this talk of who is actually watching the cricket World Cup/who will see it behind the paywall etc. is very interesting.

    On that note, today I noticed a headline on the BBC website for Mark Wood’s latest column, titled ‘No-one spotted me at Harry Potter world’ beautifully ironic I thought……

    Anecdotally I think a lot of people are not fully aware the World Cup is on/happening over here. A friend, real sports mad, watches all he can on free to air, did not even realise the World Cup had started….not unique I would imagine.

    All of the above is a shame, as this England team is one that could inspire and ignite a passion in youngsters for cricket, if only they could see it!

    But hey, what do I care ( and the ECB couldn’t care less about me). I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed Pakistan’s victory over us, equally I enjoyed Roy’s batting today, but I’m definitely ambivalent about team ECB these days.

    Like

    • thelegglance Jun 8, 2019 / 8:26 pm

      My ambivalence is painful. It really is. I want to go back to desperately wanting England to win. I miss it so. But I’m the same as you.

      Like

  4. Metatone Jun 9, 2019 / 4:52 am

    Bit of issue building around Woakes IMO.
    Two games in a row against teams not known to be the most aggressive batting sides where he’s gone for a lot of runs an over – and crucially, done so from the start, not just in the final powerplay (where everyone can get hammered.) He isn’t adjusting well to no swing and you have to worry a bit about what a Gayle or a Rohit might do with him.

    Welcome return for Plunkett who just seems to confuse batsmen a bit. On paper he should be ripe for a tonking in the middle overs, but so often is the perfect sand in the gears. And of course, on a good day, he add the 20 runs in the last few overs that we lacked against Pakistan.

    Worth noting some very good or very lucky team selection today. There was nothing there for the finger spinners, so resting Mo worked very well. Worries about Woakes apart, England seem to have all the pieces for a number of different pitch conditions – the trick is picking the right ones at the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Metatone Jun 9, 2019 / 5:09 am

    Batting: I’m in the “Roy’s dismissal was disappointing” camp, not because he went for it, but because he didn’t adjust his stance when it was obvious from the field change that the bowler was going to adjust his angle. Hence he just walked into the trap. Harsh of me I know. But everyone could see it coming, even Nasser.
    Overall – we batted well against bowling that didn’t have a huge amount of threat. As I said on the thread at the time, this is actually a big improvement over previous years. Under Moores (eg) you can well imagine us turning this into a very close game which we either lost or won by so narrow NRR it came back to bite us later.
    However, that said, hard not to worry how we’ll cope against better bowling. Pakistan game worries still lurk. WI will be a big test. Later on India, Aus and NZ all seem to have enough bowling quality to worry us too.
    Buttler injury – felt he should have retired much earlier, when it was clear he wasn’t going to run off the injury – we’ll regret it if that extra damage is tournament ending.
    Sad to say it b/c I like Mo but on the batting side, Plunkett in for Mo was a huge plus. Anyone remember the last time Mo really looked “on it” with the bat? I guess arguably Bristol vs Pakistan in the warm up series, but that pitch was so flat. Part of the problem is that coming in so low he hasn’t had that much batting in 6 months. But I don’t know how you fix that now if he can’t do it in the nets.

    Like

  6. Metatone Jun 9, 2019 / 5:11 am

    (seems the spam filter doesn’t like my verbose comment on the batting – maybe it’s a Roy fan…)

    Like

  7. growltiger Jun 9, 2019 / 11:13 am

    Can’t share the negative views on Roy’s dismissal for 153 off 126. Going into top gear at that point was a tactical decision, aiming to lift the asking rate from demanding towards impossible. He waited until Buttler was set, so the opportunity cost of the wicket was minimised. In context, it can be argued this was a better decision than carrying on with a steady 7 per over. Of course, getting out made it only a partial success – probably about breakeven.

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